On a Roll
Caf Mochi lights up the South Grand dining scene
Hot pink décor at a sushi bar? It may not induce zen-like meditation, but it does draw the eye, and that’s what Nina Pham and her siblings were going for when they decided on the flamboyant accent color for their South Grand restaurant. To set Café Mochi apart even more, they emphasized a Japanese dessert in the name—mochi are delicious little balls of sweet rice paste wrapped around ice cream—and made it a staple dish on the menu.
South Grand Sensation
The décor may be alluring, but it can’t stand alone. The food has to back it up, and Café Mochi’s sushi, tempura, teriyaki and other Japanese dishes do. Brothers Dung Pham (the sushi chef) and Tam Pham (who oversees the rest of the menu) have a knack for elaborate presentation and skillful use of ingredients. Nina Pham runs the front of the house; a fourth sibling, Victor Pham, owns the building. On warm evenings, southbound pedestrians on Grand frequently pass the café, pause next to the popular patio and do a quick U-turn back to the door. Happy hour feels like a block party, with neighbors stopping in for two-for-one cocktails and newcomers working their way through the reasonably priced menu. It’s enough to give you a new appreciation for hot pink (3221 S. Grand Blvd., South Grand, 314.773.5000).
Raising the Bar
With all the All-Star activity in July, you may not have noticed the opening of Over Under Bar & Grill Downtown. But this new sports bar/restaurant is not to be missed—it features a patio (and set-up to project Cards’ games on the building’s wall), a sleek interior and an American menu of mac n’ cheese, burgers, white bean hummus, Cajun pasta, roasted chicken and much more (911 Washington Ave., 314.621.8881).
Fans of Moxy and Eric Brenner will be delighted to hear that this top chef has been working with the boys at Molly’s in Soulard on a revamped menu and expanded space. The new menu will feature seasonal ingredients in classic bistro dishes. Look for the launch early this month (816 Geyer Ave., 314.241.6200).
Calling all Choco-holics
Café Cioccolato, a new European chocolate, wine and dessert lounge, is now open Downtown. Located in the Paul Brown Building, the café will serve and sell fine imported and gourmet chocolate, exotic espresso and coffee, gelato, desserts, boutique wines and premium liqueurs (816 Olive St., 314.345.1200).
Diners enjoy the sidewalk patio at Cafe Mochi.
Photo credit: Josh Monken